For us modern consumers, the true malls are digital: you can buy almost anything without ever leaving the comfort of your own bed. Who wants to sweat it out in traffic and tire yourself?
But the real enemy of a shopaholic, like any other vice, is the one wielding the cash. With online shopping, the old adage to “shop ‘til you drop” doesn’t really apply anymore. Plus, with sales and promos online left and right, spending is very easy to do - though not very wise all the time.
Learn how to save your money with these helpful tips on becoming a smart, savvy online shopper of today:
1. Define ‘Needs’ vs. ‘Wants’
Needs are different from wants; needs are as things that would enable you to live, work, and earn. Food, medicine, and building your savings take priority over that new dress you are obsessing over. Make a list of “needs” and “wants” and consult the “needs” list first before making any “wants” purchases.
2. Calculate the work hours needed for each purchase
You know how much you make per day, right? Then think of that impulsive purchase in terms of your hourly wage. Suddenly, that online cart full of mystery boxes isn’t so exciting when they equal to two weeks worth of hard work.
3. Understand your spending triggers
While shopping IS fun, a lot of us treat it as a knee-jerk reaction to what’s happening to and around us: boredom, stress, procrastination, and yes, even heartbreak. Before clicking that app, do a double take and ask yourself: is this is an escapist response? A good run or a movie might be a smarter and more frugal investment of your time and money.
4. Create a budget and stick to it
Why not set aside a modest amount every month dedicated to online shopping? To limit yourself, consider never paying for COD or cash on delivery. Instead, use the shopping app’s loadable credit system. Once your app credits run out, so does your budget. Added bonus: this can save you from scrambling to prepare an exact amount on CODs.
5. Work hard with good business karma.
If you have to intercept the delivery guy in order to keep your wife or husband from finding out you bought something AGAIN, then it is high time to re-evaluate your shopping habits. Big ticket items should be discussed with your partner, especially if you’re living together. Treating it as a joint effort can make for a more harmonious co-habitation.
6. Try to sleep on it
One useful trick in making any important and costly decision is to sleep on it first. A refreshed and relaxed mind is more likely to make a responsible decision than a tired, stressed one.
7. Avoid what tempts you
If the mere sight of that colorful shopping app is so tempting, UNINSTALL it. Just reinstall it on special or scheduled periods. The convenience and “deals” will always just be a click away.
8. Use apps/tools to help curb the habit
Budgeting apps like Spendee and Money Lover can help plan your monthly budget and determine how much to set aside for savings, bills, and shopping. Also, install your bank’s online app to keep track of withdrawals, purchases, and credit. Seeing the bigger picture of your finances has a sobering effect – even to the most ardent online shopper.
9. Auto-debit your savings and spending
What makes online shopping so enticing is its convenient and habit-forming process. The good news is the same advantages can be applied to planning your finances. Auto-debit your bills and other payments online – especially for your insurance and mutual fund. What is left after setting aside for your needs can be allotted as free-spending money for online deals.
Online shopping, no matter its boon and virtues, is here to stay. Follow these tips and see if it’s effective by assessing the contents of your next order checkout. As a consumer, it’s your responsibility to be conscious of your spending habits – and to make adjustments when necessary. Happy (responsible) shopping!